Episode 95: Social Media Strategy with Darla Powell
Are you using social media to market your interior design business? My next guest says you’re doing something wrong if you’re not getting ideal clients from social media.
Darla Powell is a retired police sergeant, turned interior decorator, and turned CEO of her own marketing agency for interior designers, Wingnut Social. Darla helps professionals in the interior design space attract their ideal clients through the magic of digital marketing. She is also the host of Designed by Wingnut Social, a top-rated industry podcast since 2018.
In this episode, Darla and I chat about how to be most efficient when using social media and the best platform to be on if you don’t have a lot of time to commit to social media. She also shares a few great ideas of what to post if you’re a new interior designer and don’t have many projects to spotlight.
Darla firmly believes that social media strategy and SEO are important to your bottom line, and Wingnut Social offers both of these services to their clients. To learn more visit https://wingnutsocial.com/ and follow @WingnutSocial on Instagram and Facebook.
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Michelle Lynne began her interior design career after spending more than two decades working in Corporate America. She began in the home staging arena and has since built a successful, award-winning, full-service interior design firm, employing talented designers and serving clients across the country.
In the summer of 2018, Michelle began focusing on a big gap she saw missing in the interior design industry: teaching interior designers how to run the business of an interior design business. She now engages in private coaching and leads an in-depth, 12-month group coaching program, both options focus on teaching designers profitable processes, systems, strategies, and mindset needed to run a streamlined, profitable interior design firm.
Her motto is simple: we rise by lifting others.
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Michelle Lynne: Welcome to Designed for the Creative Mind, a podcast for interior designers and creative entrepreneurs to run their business with purpose, efficiency, and passion. Because, while every design is different, the process should remain the same. Prepare yourself for some good conversations with amazing guests, a dash of Jesus and a touch of the woowoo, and probably a swear word or two. If you're ready to stop trading your time for money and enjoy your interior design business, you are in the right place. I'm your host, Michelle Lynne.
Michelle Lynne: Well, welcome back to the podcast everybody. I'm excited today, I am going to introduce you to Darla Powell. She is a retired police sergeant turned interior decorator and is now the head wingnut of Wingnut Social, which is a digital marketing agency for interior design pros. So welcome, Darla, we're diving right in. Thanks for being here.
Darla Powell: We sure are. And thank you for having me, Michelle, it's a pleasure.
Michelle Lynne: I'm excited to get to know you a little bit better. Because my curiosity is piqued. How did you go from police sergeant turned to decorator? I'm sure you get that question all the time.
Darla Powell: But isn't that a normal career path for retired police isn't exactly? Isn't that common?
Michelle Lynne: Exactly. You're still navigating some difficult waters.
Darla Powell: So as not to bore you to death, I'll make it really quick. You know, so when I was growing up and everything, I did the usual interior decorator/interior designer thing where you're rearranging your bedroom every week. And that evolved into remodeling my own homes, remodeling friends' and families' homes, remodeling on the side as a cop for people I worked with and just kind of a little bit of an unofficial side hustle, don't tell the IRS, and started to get really kind of tired of the police gig and it wasn't fulfilling me. Imagine that. And I said, you know what, let me really start this as an official side hustle. Started getting clients, realize that couldn't do both very well, and did a little leap of faith. I gave my lieutenant at the time two weeks’ notice, and the rest is history, or infamy as they say.
Michelle Lynne: That's awesome. And I think a lot of our audience will have a similar path where they were in some sort of a full-time, quote unquote, real job.
Darla Powell: Sure.
Michelle Lynne: And then made the transition into what they thought would be, you know, a hobby turned real job that's so difficult. I mean, there's so many things to navigate in this interior design industry.
Darla Powell: You know what, I'll tell you, Michelle, if I had known before getting into it, how incredibly complex and difficult it would be, I might have taken a beat and not done it.
Michelle Lynne: Girl, I've said the same thing.
Darla Powell: But I'm glad I didn't know. I'm glad I didn't know what I didn't know, because I'm really grateful that I'm not a cop anymore, even though, you know, I did my 18 years. And that was fulfilling in a lot of ways. But yeah, it is the most complicated, involved, complex business model that I know of, that I've seen, that, you know, being in B2B circles with not just interior designers, but with other professionals on my show, on my podcast. It's just been crazy. There's a lot of moving parts. It's a lot.
Michelle Lynne: You're the first person that has said that because I've said the same thing to others, it’s like if I had known, I don't know if I would have had the balls to actually make that leap.
Darla Powell: Yeah. And I think ignorance was bliss at the time. But I did make a lot of mistakes going in not knowing, a lot of mistakes that probably if I had interned with another interior designer, or done that kind of way, it could have saved me a whole hell of a lot of trouble.
Michelle Lynne: Well, I think that there's a lot of resources available now that weren't available back in the day.
Darla Powell: Well, back in the day for me is like 2018. But I think you're right, it has evolved a lot. I relied a lot on Facebook groups and the kindness of other interior designers, and incredibly, incredibly giving, they were very giving, which I did not see coming. So I loved it. It was a terrific community. I'm grateful to have been involved in it, and still to this day from a different angle with my agency. Yeah, I love it. Yeah, I'm glad.
Michelle Lynne: You still have your design firm too, right?
Darla Powell: No actually, I do not have my design firm. That was a full-time interior design firm in Miami, and when I moved from Miami to Maryland, a divorce, a whole bunch of stuff later, I had to kind of choose which business that really drove me at the time and gave me the passion that I wanted and I could do for Maryland, which is where I'm at right now. And that was the agency. And somehow, it's so crazy how the universe works. I retired as a cop, became a decorator, and now I'm really in a career that I love even more than I love the interior design side, at least the hands-on part of the interior design.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, I totally understand that.
Darla Powell: Never would have seen that coming in a million years. If you would have said, Darla, you're gonna retire as a cop and become an interior decorator, that I could say, all right, I'd see that. But then own marketing agency for interior designers, I'd be like, you're out of your mind, that's what? I don't see any path to that. And it just happened. It's so crazy how that works.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that's when you know you're where you're supposed to be.
Darla Powell: I think you're right. Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, it just kind of eases into it. And it's a simple transition. But I do want to also say to the audience if you're listening, and you're like, okay, so these two women are here saying that they would never enter the interior design industry if they knew what they knew now. Let me just tell y'all, that there's a lot more resources available now. Because back in the day, I came in 2008 and then went full-time in 2010 and Darla, you had a great experience, people wouldn't talk to me at all. They wouldn't tell me shit, like, this is how you do things, this is what you, you know, and so forth. So it was all trial and error. Don't hang up, y'all keep listening.
Darla Powell: You know, I would still do it. Um, maybe. But I wouldn't have gone in as blithely as I did. I would have prepared a little bit more, you know, for it for sure. But I was at the end of the road with the cop thing, so it all worked out. I would still do it. But I would be well more prepared.
Michelle Lynne: I can understand that completely. Look ahead. Well, so getting back to the social media.
Darla Powell: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: In your professional opinion, how important is it for designers? Because I know there's still a handful who are still not putting themselves out there.
Darla Powell: I think, well, for me, it was make or break. It was an incredible game changer for my business. And at the time, I didn't even realize that it was. So I started, like I said, from being a cop to starting the interior design side, and I started doing my own social media marketing. And it wasn't even until six months or a year later, I started getting on podcasts like LuAnn Nigara's A Well-Designed Business. I started getting magazine articles, Designers Today, and my press page was crazy, and it was all through my social media marketing. And other interior designers were coming to me saying, how, why am I seeing you everywhere? What the hell is this? What are you, can you do my social media marketing? So for me as a beginning designer, it was crucial, right? It made a huge difference in my interior design business. And now, of course, with Wingnut Social, my agency, and for the designers that we work with, it makes a tremendous difference. Because even if you're an interior designer, who has referrals, right, you have a good referral pipeline, that pipeline needs to be stoked from, there needs to be a well, there needs to be a source for that somewhere too. Even if it's just visibility and brand awareness or getting newer generations and broadening that reach to keep that pipeline stoked down the road. Because once you exhaust that local pipeline of referrals and people, friends who know friends, if you haven't kept up that visibility and awareness, even just from that minimal aspect of it, there's going to be a gap, there's going to be a gap in your pipeline that you're going to be rushing to fill. So that's my argument for that for people who get referrals and everything, but it makes a tremendous difference. And the way that your messaging, your positioning, your branding on social media, and now, and this isn't changing, this is only getting more so, people are using social media, especially say Instagram for our industry, to actually search for service providers, interior designers, etc., in their market as an SEO engine, they want to see, they want to see what you got going on there. So it's crucial. And I know there are coaches in the industry who say don't, Instagram's not gonna get you interior design clients, they're not going to, and that they're doing it wrong. They really are, because I've interviewed guest after guest on my podcast, who get 90%, 80% of their clients from Instagram. We have in-house clients that get clients from Instagram regularly. We're answering, answering, answering, English as a living right here, DMs for them for leads for Instagram. So it boggles my mind why anyone says you can't or you don't. It's a game changer to do it and do it right.
Michelle Lynne: I totally agree.
Darla Powell: Okay, good.
Michelle Lynne: My firm, ML Interiors Group. Yeah, exactly. I would tell you if I didn't agree I'm not shy, but ML Interiors Group gets referrals or pings or DMs, whatever you want to call them from Instagram on a regular basis.
Darla Powell: Sure. Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: And it's a no brainer.
Darla Powell: It really is a no brainer, because theoretically, it's free. To do it right it can maybe, it costs a lot of time to delegate. It's an investment for sure. But if you do it right, and you have winnowed your messaging to the point to where you're getting kind of vetted leads from Instagram, you're always gonna get a tire kicker here or there. But if you create your content and your messaging and your hashtags to really get those ideal clients DMing you, you sign, even if you do it kind of haphazard, and you get one client.
Michelle Lynne: That doesn't suck.
Darla Powell: And you get a 30, or 40, or $50,000 design fee, I mean, hello people, what are you doing? You have to be taking advantage of it.
Michelle Lynne: So you mentioned getting your ideal client and how to vet them. How do you do that from social?
Darla Powell: It depends on what you want. What kind of client do you want? Say, for example, I have interior designers who come to me for a social media audit, for lack of a better word at this moment to say, you know, I want to do full builds, I want to do renovations, I want to knock down walls, and I want to, this is the kind of work I want. And then when I go to check out their Instagram, it's them maybe decorating a cozy little space, a little living room, doing a light paint color recommendation, they're not putting out there, they're not projecting those projects that they want. So people are still DMing them saying, I would like to have you come consult for paint colors. I would like you to decorate my office. You know what I'm saying? So that content strategy is one part of that, the hashtags that you're using behind that content strategy to reach people interested in those services is another part of that, where you're tagging your market to reach those clients is another part of that. It's really all about, they say, you know, if you put it out there, that's what's gonna come to you.
Michelle Lynne: Right.
Darla Powell: That's a big part of it. It really is. And that's part of having a strategy and okay, who is my ideal client? What kind of work do I want? And mapping that out on your content calendar to include some of that, to make sure that they are seeing the hey, this is what I'm capable of. This is what we do.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, because if you don't tell anybody that's what you want, you're never gonna get it. You have to ask.
Darla Powell: Yeah, exactly.
Michelle Lynne: Or at least put it out there that that's what you're doing. Even if you're not, how would you go about posting something if you are a relatively new designer? Or maybe you've been decorating the whole time and you want to get some, you're like, okay, I've got this narrowed down, now I want to start doing renovations or builds.
Darla Powell: So that's tricky, right? So let's say you're a newer interior designer. And let's just, we'll start from the example, let's say maybe you got your first client, we're knocking down a wall or something, you want to promote the heck out of that. You want to go, you want it on your stories. Show behind the scenes, say, I'm Darla Powell Interiors, we're knocking down this wall, you know, with a hardhat or whatever, and just showing every part of the building and construction of that project. If you don't have that, and this can be controversial, but I'm going to tell you how to do it right. And I'm gonna tell you how not to do it at all, if you don't want to do it, is a really good way to broaden your reach and awareness, and to show clients what you're capable of, and what you want to do is to post inspirational, aspirational work. With permission from whichever designer you find motivating, inspirational, who does work who you aspire to do, who's not in your market. Because we don't want to be silly, we don't want to post a competitor's work in our immediate market.
Michelle Lynne: Valid point.
Darla Powell: And you want to always 100% give them credit, make the post about them and credit their photographer or whatever, with permission, of course. And that's what you post in the beginning. That show those, this is the kind of work I love. This is the kind of work I want to do. This this kind of work I'm capable of doing. There you go. That's that.
Michelle Lynne: There you go. That makes sense.
Darla Powell: Now some designers don't want to do it. Some designers are like, I will have no one else's work on my account. And that's perfectly valid and fine, and we have clients who do that, who are it's just their own work, but 199 times out of 200 they're more established designers who already have the work.
Michelle Lynne: You have to start somewhere. Yeah, that makes sense.
Michelle Lynne: Imagine trying to bake a cake without a recipe. You kind of know what the ingredients are, but you don't know how to put it all together. After lots of hard work and trying different combinations, all you are left with is a sticky situation and a stomachache. Babe, running an interior design business can feel exactly that same way. That is why I created The Interior Design Business Bakery. This is a program that teaches you how to bake your interior design business cake and eat it too. If you don't want to figure out the hard way, and you want guidance to follow, a recipe that has already been vetted, someone that has already been there and done it and will help you do it too, then check out the year-long mentorship and coaching program, The Interior Design Business Bakery. If your interior design business revenue is below $300,000, or if you're struggling to make a profit and keep your sanity, this is the only program for you. You can find that information at designedforthecreativemind.com/business-bakery. Check it out. You won't regret it.
Michelle Lynne: So you had mentioned earlier Instagram. Do you think that's the best platform for interior designers?
Darla Powell: Yes. Still, you can't beat Instagram. You cannot beat Instagram for interior designers. Even with Instagram's, like schizophrenic push towards just video, video, video, which they're now coming back to the pictures in the algorithm, you just cannot beat it for interior designers as a search engine. For higher-end interior designers. Facebook is still valid for some of the older audience and interior designers for more traditional or maybe DIY, maybe not quite as higher end for interior design we're finding. TikTok is getting some terrific influence or lifestyle type.
Michelle Lynne: That's what I was gonna ask you next.
Darla Powell: Yeah. And LinkedIn is terrific for commercial interior designers. Really good for commercial interior designers.
Michelle Lynne: So do you think LinkedIn is a decent platform for residential?
Darla Powell: You know, it can be. It wouldn't be my first choice if you're limited on bandwidth and where to put your social media juice. But because professionals do live there and work there, and they're the ones who we want to have hire us because they're the ones who can typically afford us, I would definitely have a presence on LinkedIn if you have the bandwidth and the, you know, the time to post your stuff. But if you're limited and you're just like, man, this social media stuff is overwhelming, I can barely handle one channel, Instagram, hands down.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, it's good to hear.
Darla Powell: It's a lot.
Michelle Lynne: We're doing a lot. So what are your thoughts on TikTok?
Darla Powell: I love it. I am a huge consumer of TikTok. I know that there's some concern about the, what's the word I'm looking for, that it's owned by Chinese.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, yeah.
Darla Powell: China, and the spyware and some states.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that they're gonna infiltrate your interior design business and learn all of your secrets. Dun dun dunn,.
Darla Powell: I think it's more nefarious than that. And I think, what is it, Arizona or something, I can't remember, forgive me if I'm wrong, just restricted access. And, you know, they said the military can't use, is not allowed to use TikTok on their phones. And I might just be, I might be incorrect with some of my details here. But there's, there's a lot of
Michelle Lynne: Texas is trying to pass the same thing. Government employees cannot have it on their phone. And I think you're right, Arizona might have done the same thing.
Darla Powell: Yeah. So I mean, that's a concern. That being said, I'm addicted. I love it. There's some influencers on there, and I'll go through there and I'll just laugh my ass off. It's just so creative. But you can't just post, you just can't post images there. Even sometimes before and afters do really well there as well, but people really love storytelling on TikTok. So the barrier to entry is pretty low, but to do it well you have to really spend some time and get creative. You don't have to dance, but it doesn't hurt.
Michelle Lynne: I have refused. I've refused multiple times.
Darla Powell: Nobody wants to see me dance.
Michelle Lynne: It's like no, and I'm not doing that little pointy thing either. Like that makes me crazy.
Darla Powell: Yeah, that does too you. That's so played out.
Michelle Lynne: But that's okay. If you're doing it, do it well.
Darla Powell: We love you if you're doing it.
Michelle Lynne: Exactly. There's a place for everybody.
Darla Powell: Yeah, that's had its moment.
Michelle Lynne: That's funny. And what about, okay, so we're just going down this whole social media path, but what about, what was that platform, was it called Clubhouse?
Darla Powell: Oh, the one where it was, yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Conversations.
Darla Powell: Yeah, I did that for a minute.
Michelle Lynne: Me too.
Darla Powell: Yeah, it just wasn't my cup of tea. I don't even know if it's still going.
Michelle Lynne: Me neither.
Darla Powell: I think they may have sold to somebody. Yeah. And I thought about having a presence on it. But if I personally am not passionate about it or don't like it or I'm not into it, I'm not, I just couldn't. I didn't have the, again, that bandwidth issue it's just no. Twitter's doing something similar too.
Michelle Lynne: Oh really?
Darla Powell: Twitter has like a conversational kind of thing, you know, now that Elon has taken over Twitter. Yeah, they're doing something, but I just, I love audio. I love listening to podcasts and things and maybe if there's somebody on there I was super like into I would do it. I just really haven't explored that.
Michelle Lynne: No, I got on there for a hot minute thinking, okay, I'm gonna be on the forefront of something. Because I'm usually like the last one, it's like, okay, here we go.
Darla Powell: I used to listen to some bitcoin chats on it, but that was it.
Michelle Lynne: Yes. There was that and there's some interesting things, but it was all about five minutes, and I had to get off because there was just too much chatter. I feel like Twitter, it feels like it's noise.
Darla Powell: You know, Twitter, I kind of like Twitter. I like Twitter, in that, it's more like if I want to get news, or current events, or things like that from Twitter. And of course, you can narrow that down with who you follow on how you want to shape that for your own feed. I kind of like Twitter for that. I find it very entertaining. And I like Reddit too, because I'm a huge nerd. But Twitter's just not great for interior designers. I wouldn't recommend anyone use that for a first, second, third, or even maybe fourth channel. And not Reddit no, not either. But it's funny.
Michelle Lynne: That's more for entertainment purposes.
Darla Powell: Yeah, for sure. Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: That's fun. So if you don't have the bandwidth to do it all yourself, but let's say you're also still brand new and you don't necessarily have the funds to outsource it. Is there any ways that you would suggest like getting in and, how can you be most efficient? Because I remember when I first started trying to do it, and I was just like taking my phone out and taking these crappy pictures, and then doing it while I was on site.
Darla Powell: Crappy iPhone pics are your jam. Who was that, Amber Lewis?
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, exactly. Me and Amber. She can get away with it, I can't.
Darla Powell: Most of us can't.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. Is there a way that you would suggest just being able to kind of rein it in and be strategic about it?
Darla Powell: Yeah. So I mean, you could do what I did. I just remodeled my own house and started taking pictures of that. You can start doing vignettes. Which vignettes, sometimes they don't perform as well. But if it's all you got, it's all you got. And flat lays are terrific. Flat lays actually do really well, you know, where you put down your materials. Yeah, those still do really well. If you have a client or two clients, testimonials work really well. It's difficult when you're a beginning designer, though. So the content mix is testimonials, flat lays, vignettes, maybe you're doing your own home, styling bookshelves, plus the inspirational posts that I mentioned earlier. So it's a little challenging, but then as you start becoming a more seasoned designer, then you can kind of wedge out some of those inspirational posts, some of those vignettes, and do whole home shots and stuff. So yeah, just getting in there. Even if you're a newer designer, and you are great at eDesign, you want to shoot a room design in that way. I mean, you just have to be really creative until you do build that up. And maybe you're only posting two or three times a week at that point. Or you're doing stories, or you're doing a talking head video saying, hey, I'm Susan McNuggets, interior design. I'm In Miami, and this is what's going on in the trends today. Or maybe your educational. It depends on your positioning and your strategy and what you want your messaging to be for any particular client to find you. And that's really where you need to start. Before you start just posting stuff, you need to sit down and figure out what is it that's your differentiator, your messaging, your voice, who is your target client? And how are you going to reach them with your messaging and what you're putting out? Because if you're putting out decorating stuff and you want the builds, like we talked about before, it's the transition from one to the other can be a little tricky and can take some time.
Michelle Lynne: And confusing.
Darla Powell: Yeah. And confusing. Exactly. And I made that mistake in the beginning. I did, I was getting some tire kickers and some decorating stuff. And then I got smart. And I said, well, let me start posting these renos that I'm doing and let me start doing more video and talk walking people through them. And then I started getting those instead. But it just takes time. It's not easy to start, you know, if you don't have any clients, you just have to get really creative. Go through your house, redo a room, you know, that's what I did. I remodeled my whole damn house.
Michelle Lynne: Were you able to write it off for marketing and advertising purposes?
Darla Powell: No, I actually wasn't. But I had kitchens, I had living rooms, I had bathrooms, two bathrooms, you know, I had, yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, I went over to some friend’s house and rearrange their furniture and brought some of my own stuff to zhuzh it. I was like, hold on, I gotta take some pictures.
Darla Powell: Yeah, you just have to be on it. Or go, even if you have like a local Design Center near you, put together you know, some samples, put them on a table, shoot a picture.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that's fun.
Darla Powell: Or show, if it's a lifestyle, and you want to show yourself shopping or looking going through drapery or you take someone with you to take some shots like you are working large and in charge. Sometimes you got to fake it till you make it.
Michelle Lynne: And that is so true. And also, I would say, don't get discouraged or compare yourself to others.
Darla Powell: Never. Yeah, no don't do that.
Michelle Lynne: Because I think that that is such a like, it'll take the wind out of your sails in a heartbeat because you don't know where anybody else is. Because if they are faking it till they make it, you're comparing yourself to somebody who might be exactly in the same space you are, or in the same growth period, but they're just acting like they're not.
Darla Powell: And I'll tell you a little secret. Everybody's faking it until they make it. Even if they've made it, they're still faking it until they make it to the next level. Everybody has their own little bit of insecurities or what they're putting out there, projecting out there. They're real people with their own insecurities and their own, you know, worries and fears and doubts, and they put on their pants one leg at a time. So don't think that they are something that's all that great that you're not. Just put your head down, focus on what you got going on, and yeah, don't worry. Don't worry about that. Because that'll kill you faster than anything.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. It definitely will beat you down. So on your website, you've got that you do the social media, but then you also do SEO. How did that cross one into the other?
Darla Powell: Well, they kind of go hand in hand, right? So social media is kind of a quicker, what's the word I'm looking for, instant more of an instant gratification kind of thing. Because you can start your Instagram and you can put up some images and have the right captions and hashtags and reach your ideal clients relatively pretty quickly. But when they're going to your website, there kind of needs to be something there. There needs to be a client journey, a customer journey. And although most people, I would say most, a lot of people, are going on Instagram to find their service providers or interior designers. Showing up in a Google search, search engine results page, is still a thing. People are still searching interior designers near me, interior designer. So ideally, you want to have both of those together. And we are a social media first agency, that is our main bread and butter. But for those clients that we have that their social media is on point, rolling in and getting clients, then we're like, okay, now let's go look at the SEO side, because you want to make sure that your website is healthy, because if your website's not healthy, Google's not going to show you in the search results because they don't want the client, the potential client, to have a bad experience, that it has all the keywords that you want to be found for. If you want to be found for Chicago kitchen designer, and you're only doing fluffing pillows, and that's all your blog's about, you're not gonna get found for that. That's a whole, that's a whole other animal.
Michelle Lynne: That's a whole different podcast.
Darla Powell: It kind of is a whole different podcast, but that's just as important as well. And ideally, like I said, you want to have both of them together and have them very robust and very healthy.
Michelle Lynne: So just something to be paying attention to, to navigate your business.
Darla Powell: Absolutely. But if you're in a kind of a hurry, and you want leads sooner rather than later, social media is always the first thing that we like to tackle to get the messaging and the word out there. But if you want to play a little bit of a long game, have your search engine optimization, because it can take six to 12 months for you to really see any fruits from that, those efforts.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, our SEO was broken and didn't know it for a while. Yeah, it kind of sucks.
Darla Powell: It does, yeah, because not everybody is going to look for you on Instagram. And the funny thing is, is this is where Instagram, where they back each other up, Instagram will send people to your website and vice versa. But people will go to your website if they find you there. You know, interior designer Miami and up pop Susan McNuggets Interior Design, they're looking at that and then they're going to look from there, to your Instagram to say okay, let me see what's going on. Let me see how they are. Let me see if I like them. Are there any videos? Am I going to vibe with this person? Yeah.
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Michelle Lynne: I want to go back really quick to what you said earlier also is that you have to know who you are and who you're targeting. And I've got my paid program, it's called the Interior Design Business Bakery, and that's exactly where we start. So that makes me hear that that's, because we go like, know who you are, your strengths, weaknesses, who you're going to be talking to, and then you have to start marketing and telling them that, but you don't have to, and tell me, I don't believe you have to niche down so deeply that you have to have a specific aesthetic or you have to have a specific this that or the other, but you do have to have your own specific intention and voice. Would you add to that?
Darla Powell: Yeah, I would. You definitely have to have your specific intention and voice. I think that's kind of broad though. And I think that, like when I first started for the interior design, I like to tell this story. I don't know if, do you know Nicole Heymer of Glory & Brand?
Michelle Lynne: I do. Yeah.
Darla Powell: So she sat down with me, she did some copy for my website. And she said, well, okay, well, let's figure out your positioning, what's your differentiator. And I hadn't at the time, this is like, five, six years ago, I had no idea what she was talking about. So I was like, well, don't we all just make rooms pretty? We did finally come to positioning and a voice. But it wasn't until I really kind of started niching in on my aesthetics and niching in on that, that I started really doing well. And even then, I was kind of broad, because I still hadn't figured that I was interior designer, but the interior designers that we have at Wingnut Social that are super niche are the ones who are absolutely fricking killing it.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. Yeah, the riches are definitely in the niches.
Darla Powell: Yeah, yeah, for sure. And forgive me, did I answer? I don't think I answered your question.
Michelle Lynne: No, I think you did. Because it is, it's the differentiator. It's like you need to know who you are, why you're different, what makes you unique, and then also being true to your voice. Because like, I'm kind of quirky.
Darla Powell: So am I.
Michelle Lynne: And so I can't, but it's okay to be that quirky in your business also. I mean, you still have to be, you know, get shit done and be professional. But I tried for the longest time to be somebody I wasn't and that just doesn't feel right. And the clients can see that also. So being able to position yourself socially with your brand and your voice and your, like you said, your differentiator and so forth, has been a game changer. Because it's one, it's a lot easier too when the client shows up to meet you, they're like, oh, yeah, you're just like you are on your reels. Kind of weird.
Darla Powell: That's so simple, right? We think of it now, you and I are thinking, Michelle, that, you know, that's so simple. It seems like a no brainer, but a lot of people are in this mindset that oh, I'm an interior designer now. I need to comport myself a certain way, but it's not really them who they are. You're gonna get clients you're not gonna like. You're gonna get clients you wouldn't go out and have a beer with, that you don't want to hang out with and there's a lifestyle quality to that. You know, getting clients that you want to work with. But they also might not like you. Because we have like this internal little radar where something sets us off if it's not ringing authentic or true. And people are gonna know that, and it will affect your business. So if you are a little quirky, like you say, God knows I am. my listeners know I am too. That's fine. Sure, are you're going to turn some people off? Sure. Those are the people you want to turn off. That's the key.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, it's kind of like dating.
Darla Powell: It's a lot like dating.
Michelle Lynne: If you don't like my weirdness, then you're not going to enjoy spending time with me.
Darla Powell: You know what? You're right. It is like dating for sure. Dating for money. Wait, there's another word for that.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that's true. But we won't tell the IRS that one either.
Darla Powell: No, no, no.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, so fun. Now, Darla, I love to talk all things business related. And I think that you've got your finger on the social media pulse so well, but I also like to have fun. So our next segment is Q&A session just to get to know you a little bit better. It's just rapid fire, first thing that comes off the top of your head.
Darla Powell: I like that I can cuss because you've cussed already. So, all right.
Michelle Lynne: Yes. I laugh. I love Jesus, but I swear a little.
Darla Powell: Same.
Michelle Lynne: It's all about the balance. All right, let's start with an easy one. Is your belly button an innie or outie?
Darla Powell: Innie.
Michelle Lynne: What's your favorite subject in school?
Darla Powell: I liked English. I was a really good writer, English major.
Michelle Lynne: There you go. What is your favorite book?
Darla Powell: My favorite book of all time is Splinter of the Mind's Eye. Which is a Star Wars shoot off, which actually never ended up being cannoned. It was right after the original Star Wars film. And I can't remember the author right now. But it was this tale where Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia go to this crazy planet and they kind of fall in love.
Michelle Lynne: My gosh.
Darla Powell: And then Empire Strikes Back came out and we're like, oh, that's awkward. Yeah, but I just, I love that because as a kid, I actually have the comic book, like over here saved in my office.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's hilarious. Didn't see that one coming. Alright.
Darla Powell: Yeah. First one that popped in my head. And that's what you said.
Michelle Lynne: So there you go.
Darla Powell: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: What is one piece of advice you'd give to your 20-year-old self?
Darla Powell: Don't become a cop.
Michelle Lynne: What would you have done otherwise?
Darla Powell: Stay in college. What would I have done otherwise? Well, you know what? Here's the thing. I'm 54 and I didn't know growing up that you could actually do interior design, interior decorating for a living. I had no idea that was a profession. And had I known that, had guidance counselors told me, or if in college that had been a thing for me, because it was always what I love doing, I would have done that way earlier. I mean, everything happens for a reason, you know, you're where you're supposed to be at all times. But I think that's what I would tell them. That and invest in Apple.
Michelle Lynne: That's true. So what's your favorite ice cream flavor?
Darla Powell: Oh, cookies and cream.
Michelle Lynne: Yummy. If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?
Darla Powell: Oh my gosh, that is a tough one. I would like to be remembered for having the balls to go out there and break out of a really secure situation I had going on and starting my own business and employing other people and making people better at their business, helping them grow their interior design business, and helping other people be successful at running their own business.
Michelle Lynne: I love that.
Darla Powell: Thank you.
Michelle Lynne: I absolutely love that. Okay, do you have any tatts and what are they?
Darla Powell: Tattoos? I have none. I am a virgin tattoo virgin. My, funny story, my fiancé has full sleeves and tattoos on her legs and everything and I have the shirt that I like to wear when we go out together that says Jesus hates tattoos.
Michelle Lynne: That is awesome. As you're holding hands.
Darla Powell: I have fun. But I have none. I won't get one either. I just, I don't know. I love Jesus too and I cuss a hell of a lot.
Michelle Lynne: That's too funny. Where do you find inspiration?
Darla Powell: Where do I find inspiration? I find inspiration from artists, books, other business entrepreneurs that have been to hell and back and come out on top, people who have failed, you know, and have come out like on top and have motivational stories to talk about it. I get inspiration from, yeah, that kind of thing. I think that's the first thing that pops to my head.
Michelle Lynne: Right. So we could get you a tattoo that's like the phoenix rising out of the ashes.
Darla Powell: You can get that.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, no thanks.
Darla Powell: I'm trying to talk my fiancée, her name's Michelle too, into getting a little wingnut tattoo.
Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh, that's too cute.
Darla Powell: I don't think she'll do it.
Michelle Lynne: On her forehead. Right here, babe, right here.
Darla Powell: I don't know about that. She's kind of cute. I don't know if I want to mess that up.
Michelle Lynne: You don't want to ruin that. If you could have dinner with anybody, past or present, who would it be? Who would you invite?
Darla Powell: Dinner with anybody past or present? Hmm, that's a really, really good one. I'm gonna have to think about that, you might have to edit this one. Maybe Mother Teresa.
Michelle Lynne: Hmm.
Darla Powell: I would like to really know her motivation and where she, you know, where she got her inspiration. And to live so meagerly. Right? And so many people. And I would really like to know what, not what she got out of it, because we all know, ostensibly what she got out of it.
Michelle Lynne: But what drove her.
Darla Powell: Yeah, what drove her. And I'd like to know what her relationship was like with God and what that looked like. And, you know, what kind of input she got that drove her.
Michelle Lynne: Did she get any downloads directly?
Darla Powell: Yeah, I mean, that's the first thing. I mean, there's some other ones too, that are more like pop stars and stuff I thought of, but I suppose if I, you know, only had one, I wouldn't want to waste my time. That'd be, you know, at 54 you start to kind of feel, you know, that life doesn't go on forever. So I'm kind of in that mood. And I recently had a family member that passed away last week, well, from my ex-wife's family that I was with for 10 years. So I'm feeling a little melancholy about that.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, I understand that. And it's true, it's like, I'll be 53 in May. And it's like, we're kind of on the downside. I don't feel like it.
Darla Powell: Oh, you're a Taurus too?
Michelle Lynne: Oh, yeah.
Darla Powell: I'm a May baby.
Michelle Lynne: When's your birthday?
Darla Powell: May 12th.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, I'm the sixth.
Darla Powell: Oh, look at that.
Michelle Lynne: That explains, kind of quirky.
Darla Powell: Yep.
Michelle Lynne: A few other things. Oh, that's too fun. And last one, Darla, what is your morning routine look like?
Darla Powell: I like to wake up really, really super early, have coffee, and then just kind of screw around on my laptop for a couple of hours and watch YouTube channels. I do. I handle emails. I'll watch the Joe Rogan show on YouTube a lot and just kind of do my big picture thinking and kind of map out my day, and then I work out and then I get up to my office upstairs and then try to do as little as possible.
Michelle Lynne: And still get paid well.
Darla Powell: And still get paid. Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: That's too funny. Well, honey, thank you so much for being a guest on the show today.
Darla Powell: Oh, thank you. I appreciate it.
Michelle Lynne: This has been fun. It's nice to get to know you a little bit. I've been, I wouldn't say following you, but I've known of you for so many years, but we've never really connected. So I know the audience has loved everything you've had to say.
Darla Powell: Let's hope.
Michelle Lynne: Can you tell them how they can get in touch with you, where they can connect with you, all the things?
Darla Powell: Sure. We live at wingnutsocial.com everywhere, on every social media channel you can imagine. At wingnutsocial.com on the Googles, on the interwebs. And we also have, if you're not in a position to delegate your full-service, social media marketing or if you're just getting started, like we mentioned before, we also have a brand new course that we're launching called Instagram for Interior Designers that contains all of our secret sauce for on how we handle our interior design clients at Wingnut Social that you can take it yourself and replicate that on a DIY level.
Michelle Lynne: Oh fun.
Darla Powell: If you have the time, the bandwidth, maybe you don't have 100 clients or maybe you have an intern you want to delegate that to. That's also over at wingnutsocial.com. We're the only Wingnut Social that I'm aware of, so you can't miss us.
Michelle Lynne: I was gonna say, no wonder you have that across all the platforms, there's no other users that were looking for it.
Darla Powell: Yep. We're a unicorn.
Michelle Lynne: How did you come up with the name?
Darla Powell: So I have like ADD like from hell. And when I was a cop, we would be on calls and such and I would, when I would wrap my calls, we'd be outside shooting the shit or whatever, talking, you know, a whole bunch of cops, and then I'd see a bird or a puppy and I go, oh, look a bird and I was done. I was off. And one of my friends said, oh, Darla, she's such a wingnut. So that was my nickname, as a cop.
Michelle Lynne: It stuck with ya.
Darla Powell: Yeah. I answer to it.
Michelle Lynne: That's perfect.
Darla Powell: If someone says, hey wingnut, I'll turn around and look, just like Darla, so yes, that's how.
Michelle Lynne: So back in the day, one of my previous jobs I used to manage Macaroni Grills. I'm not sure if you remember those from 1902.
Darla Powell: Oh, yeah. I gained a lot of weight at those.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, ditto. One of the chicks who went around the country and helped us open different locations, that was her nickname for everybody. Hey, wingnut. You wouldn't happen to know Linda Benton. Do you? Because she uses that all the time.
Darla Powell: No, I don't. But I love her already.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, small world, you never know. Well, I will make sure that all of your details are listed in the show notes for our audience to reference. And for those of you who can benefit from even more resources surrounding the business of running your interior design business, head over to designedforthecreativemind.com. Not only will you find the podcast listed there, but we have our paid program, the Interior Design Business Bakery. You can link to our free platform on Facebook, which is the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. Keep up with everything else that we have going on. So head on over there. And I'll see you, and until next time. Thanks, Darla.
Darla Powell: Thank you. It's been a pleasure.
Michelle Lynne: Hey, y'all. If you love the show and find it useful, I would really appreciate it if you would share with your friends and followers. And if you like what you're hearing, want to put a face with the name and get even more business advice, than join me in my Facebook group, the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. Yeah, I know it's Facebook, but just come on in for the training and then leave without scrolling your feed. It's fun. I promise you'll enjoy it. And finally, I hear it's good for business to get ratings on your podcast. So please drop yours on whatever platform you use to listen to this. We're all about community over competition, so let's work on elevating our industry, one designer at a time. See you next time.